Gardens are like cars. Go with me on this. You’ve got your Cadillac gardens, massive beds, large scale parterres and fountains, prim and proper. There’s the Japanese or Zen style gardens, er, I mean Toyota Prius—never assuming, but quiet, peaceful, socially connected to the larger world and landscape around it. You’ve got you Fords and GMs, you know, foundation plantings from a bix box nursery, whatever came with the house. Then there’s those exotic plants you shouldn’t have, that have no business in that environment, that can’t even handle snow and need too much pampering and cost far too much in the first place, but they sure are nice to salivate over—Bugatti, Astin Martin.
You’ve got gardens that are like a 1985 Honda CRX or some other small, two door car that just won’t quit. It’s rusted, beat up, smells like every restaurant and air freshener imaginable, it doesn’t get you out of the city, but what it lacks in dependability and sex appeal it makes up for in decent gas mileage and readily-available parts on Ebay. This kind of garden comes from Home Depot, and usually looks like an under-watered, scraggly maple marooned in the front yard, with some boxwood hugging the house, and in the fall nasty orange geraniums in a pot or two (doped up with Miracle Gro).
Finally, you’ve got your minivan gardens. I’ll call them vegetable beds. Completely utilitarian and economical, practical. But there’s always a new scratch, a new ding, something spilled on the carpet. There’s always a head of lettuce missing, infested tomatoes, strawberries pecked to death by birds. But you’re not in it for the now, you’re in it for the long haul. The experience. The nurturing. The hope that what you provide will create a better future. Vegetable gardens seem more altruistic to me, maybe like that Toyota Prius.
Still, who doesn’t dream of that sexy something sitting next to you in the Maserati convertible, both of you perfect, complete because of your fortune 500 company or the sweet inheritance or the lawsuit against Monsanto that actually stuck once hell froze over. Look at you two, wind in your luscious hair, dressed in Armani, sipping champagne from the refrigerator glove box—like some modern day Louis XIV strolling down Versailles as groundskeepers rush ahead to turn on fountains just for you.